Belkin Family Lookout Farm
10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 89 Pleasant St., South Natick, 508-653-0653, lookoutfarm.com
One of the oldest working farms in the country, Belkin Family Lookout is a staple in Boston, and the closest to the city. With Asian pears, apples, and pumpkins, your will find plenty to pick here. During the week, families can enjoy a hay pyramid, farm-themed play area, moon bounce, and more (all included in the admission fee). The weekends bring even more delights, with face painting, hayrides, and (for $5) pony and camel rides.
9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, 54 Felton St., Peabody, 978-531-7456, brooksbyfarm.org
In Brooksby’s farm-fresh store, the smell of cider fills the air, with doughnuts and fresh fudge abound. The store also takes on a heartwarming holiday theme throughout the seasons, with fresh pies and baked goods to fill gift baskets. Brooksby is perfect for a relaxing weekend, with barnyard animals and the perfect orchard for your apple-picking needs.
9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays & Sundays, 98 North Main St., Sherborn, 508-653-2639, dowseorchards.com
With 200 years of farm production and 60 years with a roadside farm stand, Dowse is definitely a safe bet for good fall fun. Fall at Dowse brings pumpkins, mums, and pick-your-own apples. In the beginning of October, many apple varieties reach their prime at Dowse, specifically Golden and Red Delicious. If your apples are going toward a sweet tooth, grab some Goldens for the perfect pie, or pick some Reds to slice for a salad.
8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 30 Valley Road, Danvers, 978-777-1245, connorsfarm.com
Though apple picking is available all week, on weekends Connors Farm can’t be beat for activities. With a corn maze, hayrides, bouncy houses, pumpkin tetherball, and more, the weekends have countless family activities available. In October, Connors takes on Halloween, transforming into a haunted farm with a flashlight maze ($14), Haunted Corn Fields and Zombie Safari Paintball on Friday and Saturday nights (each $24.99 or $39.99 for both).
Boston Hill Farm
9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (bags only sold until 5 p.m.), 1370 Turnpike St., North Andover, 978-681-8556, bostonhillfarm.com
If you are the eat-as-you-go type of apple picker, Boston Hill Farm is the place for you. September and October are prime time at Boston Hill for the Macintosh, Cortland, and Macoun apples, perfect for munching while picking. Along with the standard apple cider doughnuts, Boston Hill’s farm store has less traditional offerings like cinnamon doughnuts and sugar pumpkins (you can pick the real thing in their fields, too). After you’ve picked your fill, grab a scoop of Richardson’s ice cream and go hang out with the bunnies and sheep.
Highland Farm Orchard
10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 635 Highland St., Holliston, 508-429-8370, highlandfarmorchard.net
Though the apples are the only fruits available here for pick-your-own, Highland Farm Orchard is currently picking fresh yellow-and-white corn, Asian pears, and veggies daily to stock their store. With 11 different varieties in the orchard, Highland Farm keeps apple pickers around all season. If you can’t make it out before the end of October, Highland is the safest bet, as their Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Braeburn apples will be ready in early November. Be careful—hayrides are reservation only, so be sure to call ahead to reserve one for your family.
9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 138 Sudbury Road, Stow, 978-562-5666, honeypothill.com One of Boston’s premier orchards, Honeypot Hill is known for hayrides, delicious fresh cider and cider doughnuts, caramel apples, and apple pies. The whole family can enjoy the new Big Green Monster Hedge maze. On the weekends, Bosc pears are available for pick-your-own as well.
9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 106 W. Acton Road, Stow, 978-897-9287, shelburnefarm.comReady to start decorating for Halloween? Pick the perfect pumpkin at Shelburne for $0.60 per pound, or pick one up from the stand on your way out. On the weekends, a $5 pass gets parents and children into hay and tractor play areas for after-picking fun, or families can enjoy hayride tours of the orchard for the full experience.
Carver Hill Orchard
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays, 101 Brookside Ave., Stow, 978-897-6117, carverhillorchard.comWith summer squash, eggplant, corn, and beans, Carver Hill Orchard offers year-round picking, but comes to the height of its pick-your-own season with the fall apple and pumpkin selection. Macintosh, Macoun, Honey Crisp, Baldwin, and more apples line the rows at this farm.
7 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 315 South Bradford St., North Andover, 978-682-6332, smolakfarms.com
With the most varieties of any farm near Boston, Smolak Farms is the best choice for varied picking. In the Antique Apple Orchard, Smolak Farms grows 20 types of apples, preserving some varieties that are no longer grown commercially, including the Pink Pearl and Sheepnose. The farm has four other orchards, with plenty of unique options for visitors. With hayrides, activities, animals, and more, Smolak Farms is an all-around winner.
Apple picking is about more than juicy fruits. A lot of farms also offer fun activities for the whole family. Happy fall from Johnson & Rohan!